Residents and staff members at specialist care village, Belong Wigan, marked Remembrance Day with a poignant ceremony to open their new ‘remembrance garden,’ that has been designed with 102 hand-crafted red poppies; a touching tribute to the 100th year anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and two Belong Wigan bereavements.
The remembrance garden will remain permanently outside the village, with forget-me-not flowers being added in the spring. The poppies had been created at a craft session held earlier this month at Belong Wigan by local ‘Studio 7 & 9’ pottery studio. Residents painted 102 ceramic poppies in traditional red remembrance poppy design and four additional purple poppies to commemorate animals that were killed in service. The art session acted as a form of sensory therapy that has been found to decrease agitation and restlessness, which can be common for people living with dementia.
Special guests at Belong Wigan’s remembrance day included veterans from the village; Private Walter Morris, Private John Heaton, Corporal Bill Sievewright and Private John Rothwell who were all introduced by name and army rank to guests and took part in the ceremony by laying wreaths. The garden opening was followed by an afternoon tea in The Venue, with a 1940s themed entertainer.
Belong Wigan experience coordinator, Marie Calderbank, said: “We are really pleased to have opened our remembrance garden on such an important day. The day gave residents the opportunity to pay respects to fallen soldiers and to remember our resident Sandra Hudson, who recently passed away, and her father who died in World War Two before she met him, whom our additional two red poppies were planted for.
“We are sure that this garden will be a tranquil place for residents to enjoy in the future and it’s lovely that we all played a part in its creation.”